The 49ers are going to be without star wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a week, maybe two, and these five players have to step up in his absence.
In a way, the San Francisco 49ers are lucky their soon-to-be first-time Pro Bowl and should-be first-team All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel isn’t expected to miss too much time after suffering a groin strain during the Niners’ Week 12 win at home over the Minnesota Vikings.
Sure, it’s not ideal. Especially with yet another crucial game on the table in Week 13 on the road against the Seattle Seahawks who, despite their recent struggles, will do everything in their power to sweep the season series against their NFC West rivals.
Samuel won’t be available that game and could potentially miss another week, as his groin injury is expected to take a week or two to fully heal.
And if you’ve ever suffered a groin pull, you know it’s not exactly something to play through, and it’s best to let it recover.
At any rate, San Francisco will need to account for his absence in Week 13 and potentially beyond, meaning these five players have to step up in his wake.
No. 5: 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
True, Samuel has only caught one pass in each of the last two games from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, so it’s not as if the 49ers passing game is going to suffer drastically from the wide receiver’s absence.
Except it’s going to be altered.
Samuel, of course, has done his damage mostly on the ground as of late, rushing eight times for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11 before a six-carry, 66-yard, two-touchdown performance against Minnesota last Sunday.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, hasn’t been tasked with shouldering a heavy passing load during that stretch, attempting a combined 48 passes between the two games. With Samuel out, there’ll likely be a noticeable increase in those pass attempts per game, meaning Jimmy G will have to be on point during a stretch when he’s only tossed two interceptions against seven touchdowns the last four games.
The Niners are going to need more of that trend.